A sea of iPhone screens glowed above heads as the crowd waited in anticipation for The Chainsmokers to take the stage at Capital One Arena on Oct. 15. Stagehands ran around with what appeared to be mini-torches, as drum beats and electronic sounds swelled in the background. American DJ and production duo Alex Pall and Drew Taggart emerged from a sudden surge of smoke.
The New York-based EDM-pop group embarked on a cross-continental, 42-stop “World War Joy Tour” this past September. The Chainsmokers, along with drummer Matt McGuire, brought along Australian pop rock band 5 Seconds of Summer and rising pop singer Lennon Stella as opening acts.
The world’s highest-paid DJs brought Stella on stage for the opening song, “Takeaway,” from their recent EP, “World War Joy.” Excited to see Stella back on stage, fans sang along to the pop EDM-infused ballad. Pall and Taggart transitioned into their second song, “Roses,” the 2015 hit that reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
The audience seemed unbothered by the quick transitions from lighter-pop tracks to more EDM-skewed ones that occurred throughout the set. From the pyrotechnics to the high-energy dance moves and various stage spectacles, Pall and Taggart created different immersive experiences for each song.
Regardless of individual preferences for certain songs, it was nearly impossible not to become engrossed in the entire performance. A few earlier tracks featured Taggart on a small rectangular levitating structure, even leaning over the edge to sing directly to the adoring crowd below.
Around the mid-set point, The Chainsmokers brought 5 Seconds of Summer back on stage to perform their hit collaboration “Who Do You Love.” The combined seven musicians took the stage as one big, energetic boy band. This easy-listening radio hit gave the audience a breather between more intense EDM numbers.
The real crowd-wowing – albeit confusing – sight came a few minutes later when a 5,000-pound metal spherical figure emerged suspended over the stage. Taggart entered the “Globe of Death” and began running around and jumping on the sides as he sang “Sick Boy.”
Taggart told Architectural Digest that performing the song in the Globe was symbolic of dealing with his own depression.
“To be able to perform it in what is essentially a metal cage above the crowd is very euphoric for me,” Taggart said. “I feel like I’m really showing people how I felt at that time.”
Pall cited Travis Scott and Drake as artists who influenced The Chainsmokers to create over-the-top experiences with their live performances.
The show was random and confusing at times, while simultaneously feeling immersive and undeniably fun. Pall accurately described the show to Architectural Digest as “this great juxtaposition of destruction and chaos and death on a mass scale with this overwhelming sense of positivity and joy and happiness.”